European edition, Thursday, June 21, 2007

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — U.S. hunters stationed in Europe now have two hunting areas — including one inside Grafenwöhr Training Area — reserved exclusively for them.

Grafenwöhr Outdoor Recreation Center hunting program manager Dale Doeden said Wednesday that the areas, known as Reviere, were made available to U.S. hunters in May after years of negotiation with the German Federal Forest Service, which administers the land.

The hunting program at Grafenwöhr has run for decades but this is the first time it has offered hunting in its own Reviere, Doeden said.

The 620-acre on-post Revier includes 15 high seats — platforms that hunters use to spy game — and is reserved for 10 hunters living in Grafenwöhr and Vilseck. They will be able to enter an annual lottery to hunt there for an annual fee of 250 euros, he said.

“There is quite a bit of game. The post is known for its game. We have red deer, roe deer and fox (as well as wild boar),” Doeden said. A Grafenwöhr soldier already has harvested a rare seven-point roe deer from the Revier, he added.

Hunters who shoot trophy animals in the Revier, near Grafenwöhr Army Airfield, must pay a trophy fee to the Forest Service and any meat that hunters take home must be purchased at a rate determined by the Forest Service, he said.

One of the on-post hunters, Lt. Col. Packard Mills, 44, said he’s already shot three roe deer in the area.

“It is nice that Americans can have an area they can be responsible for,” he said, adding that the U.S. hunters take turns maintaining the high seats.

The Fort Huachuca, Ariz., native said he hunts in the evening three times a week and does maintenance and checks for signs of deer on the weekend.

Mills said he sees a lot of animals at dusk and uses a powerful Leupold scope to pick out animals ripe for harvest with his Kimber 7 mm Remington Magnum rifle.

U.S. hunters stationed in other parts of Europe will have access to a 500-acre Revier at Neualbenreuth near the Czech border, about 45 minutes’ drive from Grafenwöhr, Doeden said.

Guided hunts in that area — which includes 15 high seats — can be booked through Outdoor Rec for 50 euros per hunt, he said.

The 50 euro guide fee counts toward fees for any game taken. But, if more than 50 euros’ worth of game is taken, hunters must pay an additional 25 euros for shooting a roe deer with fewer than five points on its antlers or 50 euros for roe deer with more than five points. They must also purchase the meat from animals they shoot at a rate of 4 euros a kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) for roe deer and 3.50 euros a kilogram for red deer and wild boars, he said.

“There is a lot of interest in both [areas]. I have eight regular hunters in the on-post Revier and we have hunters coming from all over Europe to hunt in the off-post Revier. I had three hunters from Heidelberg come recently and they were all successful,” Doeden said.

Later this month 18 hunters from all over Europe will hunt in the off-post area, he said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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